Esoteric Knowledge of SleepFrom The Science of Spirituality
2a – Esoteric Knowledge of Sleep
States of Consciousness
Before we begin this section, here is a quick reminder of a few relevant terms:
- The meta-conscious is the totality of the monad’s (self’s) consciousness. It includes the waking conscious, the sub-conscious and the super-conscious.
- Waking consciousness is the small part of the monad’s consciousness that operates through the physical brain and is further restricted by the body’s etheric web.
- The sub-conscious is the consciousness within the physical-etheric, emotional and mental bodies that does not have sufficient power to make its presence felt in the waking consciousness. The subtle bodies are independent living entities in their own right but the monad gradually learns to take full charge of them. Consequently, sub-conscious activity is partly directed by the subtle bodies and partly by the monad – the proportions of which depend on the monad’s level of development. The monad controls the three triad units (1:7, 2:7 and 3:4), and they control the subtle bodies. The subtle bodies sub-consciously communicate with each other via their chakra systems.
- Unconsciousness is the state the physical-etheric body is said to enter when the self (monad) is not present. Actually the inherent consciousness of the physical-etheric being remains and takes care of all the involuntary bodily functions such as breathing, circulation, energy replenishment, the immune system, cell repair and growth. It takes care of these functions day and night, whether the monad is present or not, but it can carry out its tasks more efficiently when the monad is absent. The monad’s consciousness is far more advanced than that of the physical-etheric being, which allows the monad to wilfully control the physical body. When the monad is absent, e.g. during deep sleep, the physical-etheric being is able to wilfully control the physical body, but its low level of consciousness can only perform simple tasks such as rolling over, pulling up the sheets or sleepwalking.
- Objective consciousness is not possible in subtle bodies “above” the one in which the monad resides. For example, humanistic people are incapable of objective causal consciousness because their monads are centred in the 3:4-molecule, civilised and developed people are incapable of objective mental consciousness because their monads are centred in the 2:7-atom, and primitive people are incapable of objective emotional consciousness because their monads are centred in the 1:7-atom. Objective consciousness is not possible on the upper subplanes of a particular world if the higher molecular types in the subtle body have not been activated. For example, a person whose emotional body contains 2:1 to 2:5-molecules cannot objectively perceive anything beyond the 5th subplane of the emotional world.
All of our subtle bodies are aligned around our physical body when we are awake (refer to Figure 12b). The monad (self) resides in one of the permanent atoms of the first triad (1:7-atom, 2:7-atom or 3:4-molecule) and simultaneously perceives activity from the physical-etheric, emotional and mental bodies. The consciousness thread links the permanent atoms of the etheric, emotional and mental bodies to the soul. The life thread connects the heart chakras of the etheric, emotional and mental bodies to the soul.
The waking consciousness is restricted by the body’s etheric web so that most activity within the emotional and mental bodies remains sub-conscious. Objective perception of this activity is blocked by the etheric web, but subjective perception is possible through the interconnected chakra systems of our subtle bodies.
Waking consciousness relies on the consciousness thread being connected to the physical-etheric brain – without it the monad cannot sense or control the physical-etheric body. When the consciousness thread is disconnected (i.e. when the monad is absent), the physical-etheric being has control of the physical-etheric body but usually just allows it to sleep. When the consciousness thread is connected (i.e. when the monad is present) the monad has full control of the physical-etheric body, but it allows the physical-etheric being to manage the involuntary body functions (circulation, metabolism, cell repair, etc.).
Figure 12b – The Arrangement of the Subtle Bodies in the Waking State
When we fall asleep the monad (in the triad) detaches the consciousness thread from the physical-etheric brain and leaves the physical-etheric body, usually via the solar plexus or heart chakra, causing the physical body to become unconscious. The monad’s consciousness becomes whole (meta-conscious) when it is free from the etheric web. The monad remains conscious or semi-conscious in the remote emotional-mental body (which is enclosed in the lesser causal body). The life thread remains connected to the etheric-physical body to sustain it with life energies and to guide the remote subtle bodies back.
If you have ever been drifting off to sleep and suddenly felt your body jolt or jump; it is your emotional-mental body trying to leave before your physical-etheric body is relaxed enough, so it snaps back in to place. A similar thing wakes us from dreams in which we are falling – the falling is symbolic of our return to the physical body and the jolt (when we hit the ground in the dream) is our emotional-mental body reconnecting with our physical-etheric body.
There are two main phases of sleep, each of which will be discussed separately:
- Deep sleep – The monad (self) has no contact with the physical body or physical world.
- Dream sleep – The monad (self) is connected to the physical-etheric brain (via the consciousness thread) but the physical body remains in a highly relaxed state.
The monad’s consciousness is internally focussed (away from the physical world) so it becomes more sensitive to subjective impressions from the subtle bodies. These perceptions are somewhat random, so the monad’s consciousness attempts to make sense of them by compiling them into a linear “story”.
Figure 12c depicts the arrangement of the subtle bodies during deep sleep – the physical body sleeps but the etheric, emotional and mental bodies remain active.
Figure 12c – The Arrangement of the Subtle Bodies in Deep Sleep
The main purposes of deep sleep are to give the physical-etheric being time to recharge, maintain and repair the physical-etheric body, and to give the monad and higher subtle bodies a break from the physical body/world.
The Recuperative Effect of Sleep
During the waking state the physical body must be constantly ready to act, and this state of readiness depletes the body’s energy reserves faster than they can be replenished. Day and night the etheric body continually works to recharge itself and the physical body, but the process is far more efficient when the body is resting completely. Throughout the day the etheric body collects subtle energy from the environment and stores it up for processing and distribution at night. When the physical body is sleeping the nerves and muscles relax, which greatly reduces the energy expenditure and allows the physical body to be fully recharged with vital energy. The following day, the physical body uses up the energy that the etheric body processed the night before. The same process occurs during short power naps, which accounts for their strong recuperative effect. Deep sleep is also a time for growth and healing, which is evident from increased levels of growth hormone and changes in immune function.
Nocturnal Out-of-Body Activity
The emotional and mental bodies are virtually incapable of fatigue – emotional and mental fatigue are caused by the physical body becoming exhausted from excessive emotional or mental activity. Even so, the monad and the higher subtle bodies are happy to get a temporary release from the confines of the dense physical body. This temporary freedom allows the monad to lead another life, completely independent of the physical life. It can go almost anywhere it wants to at great speed. The emotional body can travel at about half a million miles per hour, and the mental and causal bodies even faster still. However, most people don’t actually go anywhere; their emotional-mental bodies passively hover near their sleeping physical body while they indulge in the same self-centred emotional thoughts that occupy their waking consciousness. If a person has no interest in the true nature of reality when they are awake, it stands to reason that they will have no interest in such matters when they are asleep.
The monad can leave the physical-etheric body by one of three exits: the solar plexus chakra, the heart chakra or the crown chakra. Primitive and civilised people use the solar plexus chakra, developed and humanistic people use the heart chakra, and enlightened people use the crown chakra. The solar plexus and heart chakras correspond to the lower (2:1–2:3) and upper (2:4–2:6) emotional plane so are obvious points of exit to the emotional world. Exiting through the crown chakra ensures that the consciousness thread is not detached, which not only allows the waking consciousness to remember the monad’s out-of-body activities but to actually experience the events as they occur (with training and practise). This ability can develop naturally at enlightenment, but it is possible for fairly well developed individuals to acquire the ability early through the use of specific yogic and meditative disciplines.
Once the emotional body has separated from the physical-etheric body, humanistic and enlightened people can then leave their emotional-bodies behind whilst they explore the mental world in their mental body. Enlightened people can also leave their mental bodies behind and explore the causal world in their greater causal bodies. Deep sleep is therefore a very useful and important opportunity for humanistic and enlightened people to receive teachings from their spiritual masters in planetary hierarchy.
Primitive people’s monads are centred in their physical atoms (1:7), so they are incapable of clear objective consciousness in the emotional world. The physical atom (1:7) cannot comprehend the 4-dimensional nature of the emotional world, but being part of the first triad it is capable of subjective dream-like perceptions of that world. Everyone else is capable of objective consciousness in one or more of the subtle worlds when their physical bodies are sleeping deeply but they just don’t realise it. There are four ways in which this awareness can be aroused:
- The slow but natural course of human development.
- Persistent wilful effort to hasten the natural development of this faculty, e.g. taking an active interest in “astral travel” (out-of-body experiences) or spiritual practices.
- Accidental damage to the subtle bodies resulting from the use of magic or witchcraft.
- The emotional-mental body is purposely “awakened” by someone who is already self-aware in theirs.
When we are active in the subtle worlds we can visit friends or relatives that have passed on, acquire knowledge, develop new skills or help people that are lost and confused following a traumatic or untimely death.
We are only able to perceive the subplanes that correspond to the level of molecular activation in our subtle bodies. For example, a person with 2:1–2:5 molecules activated in their emotional body will not be able to objectively perceive anything beyond the 5th subplane of the emotional world. Figure 12d shows which subplanes of the emotional, mental and causal worlds can be perceived at the five stages of human development. Note that higher levels of consciousness can perceive all the lower subplanes of that plane.
Figure 12d – The Development of Human Consciousness
Sleepwalking occurs in deep sleep, and is caused by the consciousness of the physical-etheric being (body) acting out patterns of behaviour that it learnt from the ensouling monad (us). Sleepwalkers have no recollection upon waking because their monad (self) was not present at the time of the activity.
Sleep-talking is also usually caused by the consciousness of the physical being, especially if it is random, nonsensical or gibberish. If, however, the speech is coherent and precise it may be the result of temporary possession (see below).
More complex sleep behaviours, such as sleep-sex, are not caused by the physical being. They are caused by another entity temporarily possessing the physical-etheric body to satisfy its lustful desires. These other entities are generally discarnate people with earthly desires that can’t be satisfied without a physical body. This usually only happens to people who are slightly mediumistic, i.e. with loosely connected subtle bodies.